The UEFA champions league showdown at Milan was totally unexpected by the fans across the world. Bayern Munich was knocked out of the tournament and so were barcelona. These two teams bowing out was a reaal shocker. And so the final stage was set between the two best teams of this year and it was a spanish derby. It was the clash of the madrid teams of Real madrid vs Atletico madrid.
The San Siro stadium was jam packed with fans from both sides and also top officials from the board of FIFA and UEFA. Sir Alex ferguson too was spotted in the stands. This game pulled the nerves of tension and anxiety and was expected to be a cracker of a match. Real Madrid had their usual squad except James rodriguez was benched this time. Atletico had Fernando Torres playing for his home team in a big match and was supposed to be his dream to win the UEFA title with his club. More than the players and the club it was the fight between Zidane and Simeone as managers. Zidane making his first UEFA Champions League final debut as a manager and Simeone was known for his strategies and tactics. There was an opening ceremony with singers and danceres performing in front of the whole world. And then there was the ever lovable opening theme song of the UEFA Champions League as the players rolled out of the dug out and lined themselves on the pitch.
D: Carvajal, Pepe, Ramos, Marcelo
M: Modric, Casemiro, Kroos
F: Bale, Benzema, Ronaldo
D: Juanfran, Savic , Godín , Filipe Luis
M: Saúl , Gabi, Augusto, Koke
F: Griezmann, Torres
Atletico won the toss and took the kick-off.
34 seconds into the game and koke of Atletico pulls a foul. The very signs of a controversial match was beginning to show up. As the game went on, for the next 2 minutes there wasn’t any push from both sides as they played a little relaxed giving away throws. It was the 4th minute when koke received a lob pass into the box from the wing, but mistimed the shot and hit it directly at the Real Madrid keeper Navas. 5′, Bale tries to dribble into the box through the wing but is fouled outside it by Gabi. Ronaldo takes the free kick and sends one in to Benzema who was waiting there ready to hit it in one touch. Benzema receives the ball well from Ronaldo but forget to see the GK’s position and hits it straight at him. A chance went begging.
For the next 4 minutes, Atletico control the game with their deft touches and player support, being able to rebound the ball if they lose it and still stay in possession. Real Madrid had no answer to their moves and were only able to do long counter attacks. But they fail to connect the passes owing to Atletico’s defence. 9’up and Carvajal out of frustration already dives into Antoine Griezman for a poor challenge and gets a yellow card.
Atletico are completely in control of the game with precision and amazing track back. 15′ in and there is a foul a little far from the box. Toni Kroos takes the kick and gives one in to Bale in the box. Bale facing the opposite direction from goal heads on in again into the crowd. Ramos was waiting there to pouch it but got caught in a mix up with the goal keeper yet somehow manages to touch it in for a goal.
This was a big upset for Atletico who have been playing really well through out the game. Atletico’s morale falls down a bit and they begin losing focus after the opening goal by Ramos. A couple of minutes later, Ronaldo strikes a long shot away from goal but is blocked away by Savic. Atletico now fight back strong taking up the posession from Real again. Pepe and Ramos are once again solid at defence for Real Madrid. Shots and through balls have been raining in on the Real defence. The skipper himself makes it a point to put his body on the line to block them away.
33′ now on board and Griezman is surrounded by RM’s defences but still takes a curved shot at goal. It lands into the keeper’s hand out of lack of accuracy and pressure from the defence. All of Atletico’s attack till now was triggered from behind by Filipe Luis. He has been doing all the work in the left back position defending and also making slick crosses in and around the box. The only problem at hand for Atletico was they fail to take their chances. They had more shots on goal and also kept Real’s defences on their heels all game.
42′ up and Gabi finds a way to pass the ball to Griezman standing amidst a crowd of Real’s defence again. Once again Griezman fails to get enough space to take a precise shot at goal. The game goes into half-time with Real leading Atletico by the only goal Ramos scored before. Gabi and Luis put on an amazing show for the defence and midfield throughout the first half but their team had little to show for it.
A minute into the game, Atletico keep their hopes up and attack at full. Pepe makes a clumsy foul on Torres inside the box for a penalty. Griezman steps up to take the penalty and accidentally hits the cross bar to everyones dimay. No one ever thought he’d mess up a clean penalty like that. It was a glorious chance to equalize.
53′ on and its Atletico’s corner. A nice chance to equalize again. Real’s defence fail to deal with the corner only to be received by Savic near the post but his touch for goal misses the bar. A near miss for Atletico again.
Real try to push on as Atletico were too strong on the attack pressurizing them from all directions. Kroos runs down the wing and sends a cross flying in but it misses everyone on its way. That was a chance for them to take the breathing space by 2 goals to none. Atletico’s midfield proved real strong and had immense player support. Griezman, Gabi and koke make beautiful one-two touches and back passes and frustrate their opponents. Real Madrid’s defence is in total chaos and has no answers for these deft touches.
58′ up and Carrasco, who was just substituted in took a volley straight and fails to connect properly for a goal. A nice chance goes begging again for Atletico. Now Real Madrid picks up speed and try to do more of attack. On the other hand Atletico do not back down for Real to start attacking. They too made a lot of counter attacks back and forth, making the game more interesting.
69′ on the board, Ronaldo runs in behind the defence with nice skills but is picked off towards the end. And by the time, Isco replaces Kroos and Vasquez replaces Benzema while Ronaldo is moved as the striker.
A few minutes after, Bale crosses one into the box but is parried away by the keeper. Marcelo rebounds it and strikes one at the goal yet again is blocked by savic’s exceptional defending. This time Bale himself rebounds again and shoots one at goal. Still it proved not good enough to beat the defence. Atletico were strong on all forms of the game.
11 minutes left for full time and end of game, Juan fran comes out of nowhere and crosses one into the box to Carrasco. He does a one touch with his left foot for a goal and the equalizer. Finally the game was picking up. A huge roar broke out at the equalizer, as everyone thought it was over with only 10 minutes left for the game to end. Simeone was pumped up and kept pushing his players forward. A delightful goal for atletico.
A couple of minutes later, Juan fran crosses one in again but this time Torres fails to connect properly missing the goal. From now on the play starts to get desperate, as both teams fought hard to score the winner before this match went into extra time. The stoppage period was on for 2 minutes and the players frustrated pulled out many fouls on each other. These fouls were avoidable and reckless. Ramos and Carrasco get yellow for poor challenges. The game then moves to extra time. The players are really exhausted and a few were taking up massages and therapies to make their feet feel alive again and ready for the next 30 minutes of play.
Extra time was slow yet anxious as all of them on the field were quite fatigued. Nobody took a chance of running fast and scoring the winner but this time relied on slow team work instead. Back and forth they play at a slow pace, defending each others’ goal. From now on it was a pschological game, no more a physical one. So the game still poised 1-1 goes into the penalties session.
Take a look who turned out with the win.